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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Joseph Smith Lesson #29 Living with others in Peace and Harmony

I need help! I have the pleasure of teaching this lesson a week from Sunday, and I need some good ideas for an object lesson. It is our Ward Conference so I would really like to do a good job of it.

The topic headings are as follows, with some of the quotes I like.

By striving to be peacemakers, we can live in greater harmony and love with others.

Jesus said: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.’ [Matthew 5:9.] Wherefore if the nation, a single State, community, or family ought to be grateful for anything, it is peace.

“He that does not strive with all his powers of body and mind, with all his influence at home and abroad—and cause others to do so too—to seek peace and maintain it for his own benefit and convenience, and for the honor of his State, nation, and country, has no claim on the clemency [mercy] of man; nor should he be entitled to the friendship of woman or the protection of government.

But the peacemaker, O give ear to him! for the words of his mouth and his doctrine drop like the rain, and distill as the dew. They are like the gentle mist upon the herbs, and as the moderate shower upon the grass.

It is like the music of the spheres—
It charms our souls and calms our fears;
It turns the world to Paradise,
And men to pearls of greater price.”

“Humanity towards all, reason and refinement to enforce virtue, and good for evil are … eminently designed to cure more disorders of society than an appeal to arms, or even argument untempered with friendship. … Our motto, then, is Peace with all! If we have joy in the love of God, let us try to give a reason of that joy, which all the world cannot gainsay or resist.

We can cultivate peace by honoring one another and refusing to find fault

“We [hope that] our brethren will be careful of one another’s feelings, and walk in love, honoring one another more than themselves, as is required by the Lord.”6
“The man who willeth to do well, we should extol his virtues, and speak not of his faults behind his back.”7

“Now, in this world, mankind are naturally selfish, ambitious and striving to excel one above another; yet some are willing to build up others as well as themselves.”8

“Let the Twelve and all Saints be willing to confess all their sins, and not keep back a part; and let [them] be humble, and not be exalted, and beware of pride, and not seek to excel one above another, but act for each other’s good, and pray for one another, and honor our brother or make honorable mention of his name, and not backbite and devour our brother.”9

“If you will put away from your midst all evil speaking, backbiting, and ungenerous thoughts and feelings: humble yourselves, and cultivate every principle of virtue and love, then will the blessings of Jehovah rest upon you, and you will yet see good and glorious days; peace will be within your gates, and prosperity in your borders.”10

We can cultivate harmony in our communities by respecting the freedom of all people to believe according to their own conscience.

“If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.”14

“We ought always to be aware of those prejudices which sometimes so strangely present themselves, and are so congenial to human nature, against our friends, neighbors, and brethren of the world, who choose to differ from us in opinion and in matters of faith. Our religion is between us and our God. Their religion is between them and their God.

When we see virtuous qualities in men, we should always acknowledge them, let their understanding be what it may in relation to creeds and doctrine; for all men are, or ought to be free, possessing unalienable rights, and the high and noble qualifications of the laws of nature and of self-preservation, to think and act and say as they please, while they maintain a due respect to the rights and privileges of all other creatures, infringing upon none. This doctrine I do most heartily subscribe to and practice.”16

“All persons are entitled to their agency, for God has so ordained it. He has constituted mankind moral agents, and given them power to choose good or evil; to seek after that which is good, by pursuing the pathway of holiness in this life, which brings peace of mind, and joy in the Holy Ghost here, and a fullness of joy and happiness at His right hand hereafter; or to pursue an evil course, going on in sin and rebellion against God, thereby bringing condemnation to their souls in this world, and an eternal loss in the world to come. Since the God of heaven has left these things optional with every individual, we do not wish to deprive them of it. We only wish to act the part of a faithful watchman, agreeable to the word of the Lord to Ezekiel the prophet (Ezekiel chap. 33, verses 2, 3, 4, 5), and leave it for others to do as seemeth them good

We will … cultivate peace and friendship with all, mind our own business, and come off with flying colors, respected, because, in respecting others, we respect ourselves.

Some of the questions I have jotted down so far are as follows.
  1. What feelings and emotions drive away peace?
  2. What feelings and emotions can we develop to encourage peace?
  3. Can prejudices present themselves without our awareness?
  4. What are benefits of living peaceably with our neighbors?
There are few questions I like from the manual. As you can tell I haven't even done a rough outline yet. I know I can't use all of those quotes and I am going to have to pull lots of material from those quotes and narrow the focus down a bit. I am not one that likes to read everything from the manual. I like to choose the most powerful of Joseph Smith's statements and let his words speak for himself, and then have the class come up with answers that can mirror his teachings otherwise.

Please help, me with ideas for an object lesson!!!!!!!!

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